Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 17, 2005

U of G hosts women in leadership panels

Female leaders in the fields of agriculture and veterinary science will be taking part in a national speaker series through the Women in Leadership Foundation (WIL) at the University of Guelph Jan. 25 and Jan. 27 in Room 1714 of the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) Lifetime Learning Centre.

The series is being held at 22 universities across Ontario, allowing female role models from various fields to share their career experiences and their secrets for success with young women.

On Jan. 25, Doreen Houston, director of clinical research studies for Medi-Cal; Deb Stark, assistant deputy minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF); and Cheryl Yuill, a private veterinary practitioner, will take part in an hour-long panel discussion and question-and-answer session at 12:30 p.m. A networking reception will follow in the OVC cafeteria.

Houston, an OVC graduate, is a professor at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and has been with Medi-Cal, a Canadian company that develops therapeutic and preventive diets for cats and dogs, since 1996. Stark, also an OVC graduate, completed an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and held various positions at OMAF before being promoted to her current role in 2003. After completing a master of science in small animal medicine from OVC, Yuill opened the Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Kitchener, Ont. in 1990. She has taken advanced courses in veterinary homeopathy and her homeopathy practice now occupies about 25 per cent of her professional time.

On Jan. 27, Crystal Mackay, executive director of the Ontario Farm Animal Council (OFAC); Brenda Watson, executive director of the Canadian Partnership for Consumer Food Safety Education; and Deb Whale, vice-president and co-owner of Clovermead Farms, will take part in an agri-food women in leadership panel at 5:30 p.m. A networking reception will follow.

Before being appointed OFAC executive director, Mackay, a U of G graduate, worked as the OFAC program co-ordinator and as a communications specialist with Ontario Pork, where she spearheaded the Farm to Fork promotion program. Watson, a U of G graduate and past president of the Ontario Institute of Argologists and the Mac-Facs Alumni Association, has more than 10 years experience working in adult education and organizational development. Whale is chair of the Poultry Industry Council and board member of Farm Credit Canada. She has also served on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s minister’s advisory committee, the Agriculture Research Institute of Ontario and the Midwestern Ontario Co-operative Board.

WIL is a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of women's leadership. Its signature program is the Women in Leadership Series held at post-secondary institutions across Canada. The series is presented by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Scotiabank.

There is no cost to attend these events, but participants need to register online at

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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